Teachers & Leaders Guide

Group below waterfall in river, gorge scramble activity Snowdonia

Teachers & Leaders Residential Guide

Outdoor Education Residentials at Arete Outdoor Centre

Please find below information for teachers and leaders on running a successful residential at Arete, answering common questions and logistics on booking a course. 

“As a result of our week at Arete the students have emerged with organisation skills, self confidence, risk taking resilience and self management. It has been an invaluable week. … All [Arete] staff were focused on the delivery of high quality activities and food.”

Hodgehill College, February 2017

Why Choose Arete

for Outdoor Education Residentials

Highly Qualified and Experienced Instructors

At Arete Outdoor Centre we employ highly motivated and experienced members of staff who are enthusiastic about the outdoors.  On our instructional team we have members of staff who are qualified teachers with school teaching experience in both the primary and secondary field. All members of staff need a wealth of experience and will hold some of the highest qualifications in the outdoor industry. This mix of staff gives us a great knowledge of what is needed to provide effective activities for all groups, something not all centres can do. All members of staff are passionate about the outdoors and participate in different activities in their own time. We are AALA licensed, hold Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) badge and Adventuremark. Have Association of Mountain Instructors (AIM), Mine Leader (LCMLA) and British Canoe Union (BCU) representatives plus a Mountain Training (MT) provider for Mountain Leader and Rock Climbing Instructor qualifications.

True Flexibility

Of course, we tailor each course for every group and school. We go even further than that, and don’t need to work to a set programme. We have the resources, and more importantly the staff, to allow us to develop and change the programme on a daily basis. As each instructor gets to know their activity group they can make more informed suggestions to fulfil your learning objectives. The changing weather is also taken into account to give the best combination of activities possible. 


Arete is based on the edge of Eryri (Snowdonia) and a 10 minute drive from Anglesey. As a result we can easily access the mountains, rivers and lakes one way and the sea and coastline the other. Each group is assigned a minibus, so the instructor can choose the best venues each day and not be limited by imposed timings. 

Comfortable Catered Accommodation

Arete Outdoor Centre offers comfortable dormitory rooms for male and female pupils and separate staff rooms.  The main centre and west wing combined has 77 bed, which can be used by large or small groups.  It can be sectioned off to meet the requirements of different groups. The centre offers catered and self catered options.

Education Benefits

for Outdoor Education Residentials

Learning outside the classroom has many educational benefits which include inspiring individuals in their learning and developing the whole child.  Our outdoor education courses provide an exciting new platform for learning and offers experiences which cannot be reproduced indoors. Young people are given first hand experiences which they may not be able to discover in a classroom.

Arete Educational Benefits

As a staff team, at Arete, we have summarised some of the many benefits of outdoor education. It has been extremely difficult as the list is endless.

  • Enjoy being outdoors, embracing new challenges faced
  • Participate and show perseverance, adapting to different situations
  • Strive to improve, develop and achieve
  • Develop new relationships with peers and staff
  • Work cooperatively with others, taking on a lead role
  • Apply new skills learnt, in other aspects of everyday life.
  • Enjoy tech free times
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices
  • Make the link between physical and emotional well-being
  • Develop coping strategies to reduce stress and anxiety, related to the natural world
  • Experience ‘awe and wonder’
  • Identify ways we can all respect the environment
  • Experience a range of different environments
  • Show appreciation for their surroundings
  • Take responsibilities for their actions
  • Identify the impact our actions have, on others
  • Develop and value friendships
  • Encourage and support others to succeed
  • Identify our own strengths and weaknesses
  • Take and manage our own risk to complete a goal
  • Stretch our comfort zone and overcome fears
  • Communicate effectively with peers
  • Make independent decisions to solve different problems
  • Develop a positive mind set to challenging situations
  • Develop new knowledge and skills
  • Develop physical skills that can adapt and apply
  • Understand how to dress appropriately for the outdoors
  • Unlock talent
high quality outdoor learning

Guidance has been taken from the ‘High Quality Outdoor Learning’ (English Outdoor Council 2015) and the more recently updated ‘High Quality Outdoor Learning Wales’ (2018 Outdoor Education Advisors Panel OEAP)

The staff at Arete are experienced in grounding their adventurous activities in sound educational practices and strive to ensure that all pupils can enjoy these positive benefits.  Please speak to a member of the team for more information.

outdoor education on the beach with secondary school pupils

“Really impressed with all the instructors at Arete. They were very knowledgeable and went above and beyond to make our trip memorable. The students achieved so much on the trip from organisation skills to the ability to push themselves further.”

Walkwood Middle School, May 2017

gcse field work notes on a geography course

“The instructors made the river processes come to life as we ascended the gorge. We covered all aspects of our GCSE fieldwork study,and so much more!”

King Edwards VI Five Ways, May 2017

Facilities & Logistics

for Outdoor Education Residentials


Arete Outdoor Centre is purpose built for schools and groups. There are three areas – West Wing (20 pupils), Main Centre (50 pupils) and Bryn Eryr (30 pupils) giving a maximum of 100 pupils plus staff if the areas are combined. Whichever area(s) you are allocated you will have exclusive use with your own dining and communal space. There are games, pool or table football and a screen in each – though with all the possible activities it doesn’t leave much free time! All the dorms have bunk beds and vary in size from 2 person to 9 person rooms. We can divide each area to provide separate male and female sleeping areas and toilet / shower facilities.

There are extensive cloakrooms and drying facilities to deal with wet kit in each area. Outside we have a range of store rooms providing easy access to all of the outdoor kit you will be using each day. Pictures and more detail can be found under accommodation.

WiFi: Our building has WiFi access that can be easily accessed anytime of day or night. We can also provide a computer should you need to stay in touch while away from school. There is a separate staff room to allow downtime without the pupils or an area to quietly catch up on work.


If you choose to be fully catered we can provide breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Our dedicated cook Carol and her assistant Ann will ensure that you are well fed. We are setup to cater for any dietary requirement and have a range of allergy free meals, halal, vegetarian or vegan options.

Breakfast: At 0800 each morning. Cereal and toast. Cooked option can include baked beans / bacon & egg / sausage & hash brown / vegetarian sausage.

Lunch: We provide ingredients for pupils to create their own sandwiches each morning at 0730. Fruit, cake and crisps are provided to supplement sandwiches. Instructors will often take hot chocolate out on activity sessions.

Dinner: Each evening, at 1745, there is a sit down meal with the option of soup as a starter.  Main course can include spaghetti bolognese, pizza & wedges, fish & home cooked chips, chicken curry. A dessert will also be offered such as chocolate cake, banoffee pie or apple crumble.

Centre Duties

We find the residential part to be as important as the activities in terms of the pupil’s learning. We encourage them to be independent, learning new skills to look after themselves when away from the family home. 

Part of this may be organising their kit in the morning, making beds, and tidying their dormitory. We also have a duty rota that takes about 10 minutes around breakfast and dinner. These duties may be tidying up areas they have used, laying tables or putting away dishes. They encouraged to work together in their table groups to efficiently perform these tasks.

Outdoor Kit

We can provide all the necessary kit for your stay. Everyone will be issued with full waterproofs, fleeces and rucksack to use on their arrival – all of which can live in their own cloak room space. Depending on the activity we also have a range of wetsuits, cags, wellingtons, rock boots and walking boots plus of course all the safety items.

There are drying facilities to deal with wet kit and muddy boots. 


Each morning the instructors have a staff meeting at 0845 to discuss the desired activities for the day, to which the visiting staff can join at 0900 for a joint discussion. We meet the pupils at 0920 for the two volunteers to present the weather and then they meet their instructor in activity groups. The groups will all head out for the day returning to put away kit for 1700. We have a fleet of minibuses, one designated to each group.

During the day they can do any combination of activities. There is no set programme we need to follow, we can be flexible on a daily basis to the weather and what is best for each group. Please see the activities page for more information.

Photos: We provide waterproof cameras for each activity group. They can record their visit and create memories of each activity. At the end of the week we use a simple online file sharing service so they can access them upon their return home.

Frequently Asked Questions

for Outdoor Education Courses

Below is a list of frequently asked questions by teachers and group leaders before attending a course. If you still have a question on any aspect of the outdoor centre or activities provided please feel free to contact us.

All instructional staff are fully qualified with national governing body awards for the activities they are providing.  Our members of staff are highly qualified and experienced in the activities they are running.

Please click here to view the medical & consent form to be filled out by all parents with children attedning an Arete course.

Please share the link https://www.aretecentre.co.uk/pupil-medical-consent-form/ to the parents.  They will need to select the school name and course dates.  All the data will be recorded in centralised spreadsheet that the lead teacher can access to monitor that it is complete.  

Arete is AALA licensed (Adventure Activities Licensing Authority), which is a statutory retirement. We also hold the Learning Outside the Classroom badge (LOtC). This goes further to also check our accommodation, transport and quality of course. Regular visits from the licensing boards mean that our procedures are analysed and show our high standards are consistently maintained. 

Ofcourse. Please contact us to arrange a visit.  We can also find you accommodation if you wish to stay overnight.  

We don’t need your teaching staff or group leaders to be with every team out on activities, so you can choose if you participate or not.  As almost all of the activities involve journeying within the various venues, it isn’t often possible to view the activity unless you are participating. Ideally we do encourage everyone to be involved, as we believe it benefits the pupils and the relationships they have with their staff.

Arete Centre can provide access to computers for work purposes. It is up to the group leaders whether young people bring mobile phones and other electrical equipment. Arete Outdoor Centre are not responsible for the loss or damage of any electrical equipment.
It is requested that young people do not bring mobile phones out on activites, due to safety reasons, damage but also the benefits of time away from a screen.  All instructors carry phones for safety reasons.

Yes instructors are available to run a range of evening activities for your group, options can be discussed at the point of booking. We also offer advice and provide equipment so you can run your own evening activities.

Arete members of staff will work in the day and a local member of staff from the centre will be on call to support group leaders overnight.  If your group requires additional evening support special arrangements can be made otherwise it will be the responsibility of the group leader to supervise their group overnight. Exceptions are generally made for specific courses eg camping courses and Duke of Edinburgh (contact the centre for more details).

All instructional staff are first aid trained and will be able to provide first aid whilst working. Information related to local doctors, hospitals etc are provided in the centre for when centre staff are off duty. A first aid trained member of staff will also be on call.

We have our own minibuses, which are used to transport groups on activities and this is included in the price. We can arrange transport for your travel to and from the centre.

Yes there will be a member of staff to see you in to your accommodation. Before arrival you can discuss if you want activities when you first arrive.

We provide all the technical equipment for the activities, including wetsuits for water activities. We can provide spare boots, waterproofs and rucksacks for people who do not have them.
We provide duvets and pillows.  Linen can be provided on request, most groups prefer to bring their own and this is reflected in the accommodation price.

We do have a pupil kit list, please click here. We will also include a list in your information pack.

Yes, this will be sent to you prior to your arrival. It can also be found on our website under the parents guide section – kit list.

An information pack will be sent out to help plan your visit.  On arrival, centre staff will meet with group leaders to discuss important information, procedures and answer questions to help with the smooth running of the course.  Risk assessments, policies and procedures are in place for all activities and day to day running of the centre.  They are available on request.

Yes we do have WiFi across the centre which you a free to use. We also have computers available if you need to do any work while visiting.

There are seperate rooms, showers and toilets for staff to use. Members of school staff are welcome to use the centre staff room. In the evenings please ask for the cheese board.

It is possible for Arete to provide instruction only for groups visiting for the day or with their own accommodation.  Please contact us for a quote.

There are 3 separate areas – West Wing (20 pupils), Main Centre (50 pupils) and Bryn Eryr (30 pupils). Your school will given exclusive use to your allocated area(s), each has separate dinning and communal areas, but can be combined if you have a large group. Please see our accommodation section for the exact layout of each. We will talk you through room allocation so male and female pupils are separate.

We have a tuck shop at the centre selling food, drinks and souvenirs.  It is up to visiting staff to decide on whether they want young people to bring money.  Arete Outdoor Centre take no responsibility for any loss of money.

The residential experience is seen as part of their education while attending the course. We therefore expect the pupils to help look after the centre and each other through taking on various tasks. These include serving and cleaning tables at dinner times, keeping communal areas tidy and being responsible for the cleanliness of their own bedrooms. This will be discusses in more detail with the students when they arrive at the centre. To help with the smooth running of the centre, staff will be asked to supervise children in completion of some daily tasks.

The majority of our courses at Arete are fully catered, giving you the convenience of fully prepared and wholesome meals each day. Should you prefer you can book courses with a self catered option too. Please feel free to contact us to discuss the options.

All instructors who work for Arete are covered by our £5 million liability insurance.

secondary school trip sea kayaking around lighthouse

“Great food and a friendly atmosphere around the centre. Everyone was always keen to help and make you feel welcome”

Royal Grammar School Worcester, March 2017

gcse field work notes on a geography course

“The instructors made the river processes come to life as we ascended the gorge. We covered all aspects of our GCSE fieldwork study,and so much more!”

King Edwards VI Five Ways, May 2017

How to Book & Costs

for your Residential Course

Each course we run at Arete Outdoor Centre is different for every school and group. As such please contact us to discuss your exact requirements and we will let you know our availability and course costs.

Upon agreeing on a date, length and type of course we will email over a booking form to confirm all the details.  We then require a 30% deposit to secure your booking, which is non refundable. We can allow time if you need to request money from parents and guardians first. The full amount is due 30 days before your arrival.

There will be a course director assigned to your group who will oversee the build up, actual course and post course evaluations. We will require the pupil spreadsheet, summarising everyone’s medical and dietary requirements and allocating pupils to activity and table groups two weeks before. We like to discuss any individual pupil requirements before the course starts and be clear on your learning objectives and course aspirations. 

Booking Stages

  • Contact us by phone or email to discuss the type of course you require
  • Return the booking form, signing up to our terms and conditions, to book the course.
  • 30% deposit will be due, which you are contracted to pay and non refundable. 14 day cooling off applies for bookings made more than 4 months before the course date. 
  • Receive photo presentation, leaflets, video and course paperwork
  • We will contact you as your course date approaches to answer any questions
  • Final payment is due 30 days before the course starts.  The full amount is not refundable if the client makes a cancellation less than 30 days in advance. 
  • Email over pupil summary spreadsheet
  • Arrive with pupil consent forms ready and raring to go


The costs vary depending on pupil numbers, time of year and course content. 

As a general guide the cost per night for fully catered accommodation varies from £27.50 per pupil in  January to £37 per pupil in June.  The cost for a full day of activity varies from £27.50 per pupil in January to £37 per pupil in June. Cheaper and quieter over the winter, still the same educational content and a great range of activities!

A common course length is arriving 1300 on Monday and departing 1300 on Friday. For this course length the price per pupil would then vary between £232 to £320 per pupil. This includes kit, accommodation, food, activity transport, and a  combination of evening activities. We offer one free staff place per 10 pupils.

We are a not for profit company. Even though we provide all off site activities, highly qualified staff and flexibility on a daily basis, we are still cheaper or comparable to other centres who can’t provide this service.

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